Nature is the Best Therapy

1_Red Cross

Serena’s memorial cross lit by a red laser

Hello and welcome to the blog.  I took a brief little trip north Tuesday and Wednesday.  It was one of those camping trips where even though you can think of reasons not to go  (like a dentist visit), you know it will feel good eventually.  Nature cures a lot of issues and this time was no exception.

By the way, Jesse stayed home for this outing.  He’s not thrilled with longer trips in the van.  I’m going to try a cat carrier for his next outing in the fall.  Oops, I digressed…

While heading north toward Hill Country, the mood was less-than-positive because work was still on my mind.  It was difficult to walk away from a job that I had loved so much.  There were several reasons for departing but divulging them would compromise my own integrity (and perhaps well being) and only spread negativity.  Sometimes it’s better to let one’s absence from a place speak volumes.  Karma will fix the rest over time.  😀

2_CrossUpon arriving at Dutton’s Cave (in Fayette County) around 8:30 PM, the intention was to spend some time at Serena’s memorial tree and “talk” to her a little, pray some, etc.  The rapidly setting sun and mosquitos had other plans, however.

The glass cross placed in rememberance of my little camping buddy was in perfect condition.  There were still a couple of petals left from when two fresh roses had been set there in the spring.  As expected, I felt a deep sense of loss once again.  I left her favorite toy there – a red laser pointer that she loved to play with.

There have been opportuities to adopt kittens in recent days and it’s been tempting.  Remembering Serena helped me realize I am not ready to get another girl kitty any time soon.  Jesse is plenty of company right now.

Duttons Cave

Sunrise at Dutton’s Cave

Dutton’s Cave park was as peaceful as ever.  A cool breeze drifted through the van all night and the sleep was some of the most relaxing in a very long time.  Meditation helped quiet the mind from various taxing emotions:  loss, sorrow, anxiety, etc.  It’s amazing how much camping can help!

The next morning I awoke a little late – around 4:30 AM – and headed into Decorah.  Sadly, the water was high and the fish just weren’t biting.  After driving 100 miles, I was disappointed and frustrated.

1_Clayette County_Otter Creek

Too relaxed is not a bad thing.

Once again, anxiety and depression started nagging at me… Worries about where to apply for a job, how to pay the bills, the fact that some of my support network was pulling away, and other issues were bothersome.  But those worries all faded a few miles down the road.

Just a bit southeast of West Union, I paused to fish at Otter Creek.  The usual spot near Hornet Road (at the bottom of a steep incline) didn’t yield anything other than a few scrapes and a handful of raspberries.  Still grumbling, I headed a little farther down the road to the hole you see in the picture above and to the right.

UFO in front of drone

A UFO? No, I think this was a bird. I’ve had them buzz around the drone before. This was taken by Hornet Road along Otter Creek.

Sitting in the lawn chair, the warm summer sun heated the skin and it took the tension out of the muscles.  A cool breeze periodically soothed what would later become a light sunburn.  Butterflies danced around the lawn chair, nearby cows let out “mooing” sounds, and the creek gurgled.  As I sipped some diet ginger ale, the fish lazily bit and four nice trout went into the cooler.

God was good to me that day and I gave thanks for the chances to enjoy the outdoors as the last of the anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions disappeared and I finally feel at peace for the first time in weeks.

1 Blackberry ice cream

McDonalds ice cream and black raspberries. Yummmm!

Though I’ve not asked anyone, friends have started to come out of the woodwork and began inviting me to hang out.  Fishing buddy Steve wants to hit the trout streams on Saturday and offered to drive.  Cool!

A dear friend, Coreena, invited me to pick black raspberries at her place over the next couple of days.  So far there are two quarts in the fridge!  A close friend from McDonalds invited me to dinner tonight and she was so fun to be around.

I guess the moral of the story is when a person feels his / her worst, if you obey the law, strive to do the right thing, and be kind to others you’ll come through it okay.  Camping and being around nature lets a person relax, pray, and recuperate.  It’s the best therapy!


Yep… He likes raspberries and ice cream… Just like his daddy.

Over the weekend the hope is to check out a different campground near home.  It’s primitive and the scenery is beautiful.  There will be pretty pictures.  If the temperature is cooperative, Jesse James might even get to ride along this time.

Take care and safe travels always no matter how bumpy the journey!

Brad and Jesse James
Jones County, Iowa




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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

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